What Candidates Want: Job Search Trends 2021

Time to read: 4 min

Job Search Trends 2021 Summary:

  • US job listings up 29 percent from February 2020 to June 2021
  • A candidate-driven market brought about with the success of business on the line as the economy opens back up.
  • Job seekers understand their demand and worth.
  • Remote work and diversity, equity, and inclusion are top priorities in their job search.

A post-COVID state of mind. The country is opening. The vaccine is administered. Mask mandates and social distancing guidelines are decreasing across the country. The world is finding its way out of the pandemic.

With the economy rebounding, the workforce is responding to shift back to normal. According to Indeed, Job posts in the US were up 29 percent from  February 1, 2020, in comparison to June 8, 2021 – Indeed’s pre-pandemic baseline. The jobs are out there, and candidates are searching. As job seekers flood the market, we observe a shift in their approach. In this article, we explore the job search trends 2021 and what to expect as you navigate the candidate search:

It’s a Candidate Market

Job seekers have the upper hand with multiple job offers to choose from. Companies that had made layoffs are now re-hiring and increasing their headcount. Jobs are bountiful.

Candidates know their worth and have refined their values. Job seekers are taking their time to find where they will be the strongest candidate. “With it being a candidate market now, our candidates are way more selective. They understand that with the right skills, they have the opportunity to make more money than before.” shares Profiles Senior Account Manager, April Walton.

For some, a slight struggle of insecurity brews where candidates are torn between working towards advancing towards their dream job for the long term or finding a position of security. A lasting effect of COVID is job security with millions (to say the least) left jobless or at least furloughed through the heat of the pandemic. As things begin to normalize and feel more secure, candidates are readjusting their job search and considering all possibilities.

Remote Work Ranks High

It is no question remote work has been at the forefront of conversations over the past year, let alone the past couple of years. The pandemic made it quite apparent that remote work can be sustainable for business. In a recent Profiles poll sent to digital professionals, 70% responded they prefer a remote work lifestyle over commuting back to the office.

Candidates want remote work – in some capacity. Candidates are more attracted to brands that offer a remote workforce model. While some companies are choosing to cancel leases and close the physical office for good, some are choosing a hybrid model of partial time in-office and partial time working from home.“Work from home flexibility or hybrid schedules are already the new norm and highly preferred by candidates and clients alike,” explained April. Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a digital candidate looking to head back into the office five days per week.

To really level the playing field, remote work is not only a preference but candidates also have no compromise in pay as a trade-off for that preference. To bring home our previous point around candidates knowing their worth, Profiles Senior Business Development Manager, Tina Lee, weighs in, “One thing I have noticed is that candidates are not only asking for remote opportunities but for those with higher salaries, whereas candidates used to be more flexible with a pay cut in lieu of being in the office (pre-COVID).”


Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is not only the conversation among society, but candidates are bringing DEI at the forefront of their desires in a new job. As much as 67% of job seekers consider diversity equity and inclusion an important element of their workplace. Candidates value DEI-focused recruiting and hiring at all levels. However, many candidates are weary to start those conversations. The due diligence comes from research and social awareness. Job seekers are observing leadership teams and potential peers at a social level to understand if they truly carry out the brand values both inside and outside of the office.

How can companies promote efforts and commitment to those values? Take time to evaluate your employer brand and online presence to ensure the message gets across to prospective candidates.

Navigating 2021 Job Search Trends Post-COVID with Profiles

In this tight candidate market, companies are in continuous competition with each other to attract the best candidate. Many businesses are competing while navigating restrictive budgets and shifting workplaces. Businesses are challenged to adapt to modernized schedules, processes, and technologies that award them to be successful in a remote environment, all while offering competitive compensation packages and upholding values, and promoting an inclusive and welcoming place to work.

In the creative, marketing, and technology sector, we are in constant contact with top candidates with these very values, having these very conversations. Enlist Profiles to help your business navigate this candidate-driven marketing.

[gravityform id="8" title="false" description="false" ajax="true" tabindex="49"]
<div class='gf_browser_unknown gform_wrapper gform_legacy_markup_wrapper' id='gform_wrapper_8' ><div id='gf_8' class='gform_anchor' tabindex='-1'></div><form method='post' enctype='multipart/form-data' target='gform_ajax_frame_8' id='gform_8' action='/blog/what-candidates-want-job-search-trends-2021/#gf_8' > <div class='gform_body gform-body'><ul id='gform_fields_8' class='gform_fields top_label form_sublabel_below description_below'><li id="field_8_2" class="gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_8_2' >First Name<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_2' id='input_8_2' type='text' value='' class='medium' tabindex='49' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id="field_8_3" class="gfield field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_8_3' >Last Name</label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_3' id='input_8_3' type='text' value='' class='medium' tabindex='50' aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id="field_8_4" class="gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_8_4' >Work Email<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_asterisk">*</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_email'> <input name='input_4' id='input_8_4' type='text' value='' class='medium' tabindex='51' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li></ul></div> <div class='gform_footer top_label'> <input type='submit' id='gform_submit_button_8' class='gform_button button' value='Download Our Case Study' tabindex='52' onclick='if(window["gf_submitting_8"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_8"]=true; ' onkeypress='if( event.keyCode == 13 ){ if(window["gf_submitting_8"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_8"]=true; jQuery("#gform_8").trigger("submit",[true]); }' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_ajax' value='form_id=8&amp;title=&amp;description=&amp;tabindex=49' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='is_submit_8' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_submit' value='8' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_unique_id' value='' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='state_8' value='WyJbXSIsIjQzNDg5YTIzZTExNmYyOTdlMDY5YzA5YzFmNTRhNTc0Il0=' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_target_page_number_8' id='gform_target_page_number_8' value='0' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_source_page_number_8' id='gform_source_page_number_8' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_field_values' value='' /> </div> <input type="hidden" id="ct_checkjs_c8ffe9a587b126f152ed3d89a146b445" name="ct_checkjs" value="0" /></form> </div> <iframe style='display:none;width:0px;height:0px;' src='about:blank' name='gform_ajax_frame_8' id='gform_ajax_frame_8' title='This iframe contains the logic required to handle Ajax powered Gravity Forms.'></iframe> <script type='text/javascript'>document.addEventListener( 'DOMContentLoaded', function($){gformInitSpinner( 8, 'https://www.careerprofiles.com/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/images/spinner.svg' );jQuery('#gform_ajax_frame_8').on('load',function(){var contents = jQuery(this).contents().find('*').html();var is_postback = contents.indexOf('GF_AJAX_POSTBACK') >= 0;if(!is_postback){return;}var form_content = jQuery(this).contents().find('#gform_wrapper_8');var is_confirmation = jQuery(this).contents().find('#gform_confirmation_wrapper_8').length > 0;var is_redirect = contents.indexOf('gformRedirect(){') >= 0;var is_form = form_content.length > 0 && ! is_redirect && ! is_confirmation;var mt = parseInt(jQuery('html').css('margin-top'), 10) + parseInt(jQuery('body').css('margin-top'), 10) + 100;if(is_form){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_8').html(form_content.html());if(form_content.hasClass('gform_validation_error')){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_8').addClass('gform_validation_error');} else {jQuery('#gform_wrapper_8').removeClass('gform_validation_error');}setTimeout( function() { /* delay the scroll by 50 milliseconds to fix a bug in chrome */ jQuery(document).scrollTop(jQuery('#gform_wrapper_8').offset().top - mt); }, 50 );if(window['gformInitDatepicker']) {gformInitDatepicker();}if(window['gformInitPriceFields']) {gformInitPriceFields();}var current_page = jQuery('#gform_source_page_number_8').val();gformInitSpinner( 8, 'https://www.careerprofiles.com/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/images/spinner.svg' );jQuery(document).trigger('gform_page_loaded', [8, current_page]);window['gf_submitting_8'] = false;}else if(!is_redirect){var confirmation_content = jQuery(this).contents().find('.GF_AJAX_POSTBACK').html();if(!confirmation_content){confirmation_content = contents;}setTimeout(function(){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_8').replaceWith(confirmation_content);jQuery(document).scrollTop(jQuery('#gf_8').offset().top - mt);jQuery(document).trigger('gform_confirmation_loaded', [8]);window['gf_submitting_8'] = false;wp.a11y.speak(jQuery('#gform_confirmation_message_8').text());}, 50);}else{jQuery('#gform_8').append(contents);if(window['gformRedirect']) {gformRedirect();}}jQuery(document).trigger('gform_post_render', [8, current_page]);} );} );</script>